News from Nowhere [NOOK Book]

Overview

The best-known prose work of William Morris, News from Nowhere ranks among the most literary and readable of utopian novels. The great English artist, writer, and political activist offers a compelling portrait of an ideal society in his chronicle of a nineteenth-century man's visit to the future. William Guest, a thinly disguised version of Morris himself, falls asleep in his own era and wakes in the twenty-second century to find England transformed into a socialist paradise.

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News from Nowhere

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Overview

The best-known prose work of William Morris, News from Nowhere ranks among the most literary and readable of utopian novels. The great English artist, writer, and political activist offers a compelling portrait of an ideal society in his chronicle of a nineteenth-century man's visit to the future. William Guest, a thinly disguised version of Morris himself, falls asleep in his own era and wakes in the twenty-second century to find England transformed into a socialist paradise.

Morris' idyllic society echoes themes from the writings of John Ruskin and Karl Marx but forms a distinctive expression of the author's own egalitarian views. His vision of the future rejects state socialism in favor of a system by which people live in harmony with the natural world. Capitalism has been eradicated by a workers' revolution, property is communal, and money unnecessary. The citizens take pleasure in their work, which they regard as a form of creative expression. Crime is virtually nonexistent in their perfect world, and women enjoy complete equality.

A distillation of Morris' mature reflections on politics, art, and society, News from Nowhere was regarded as an exercise in sentimentality upon its 1890 publication. Modern readers, however, are likely to find resonance in its critique of state socialism and its proposals for an alternative society.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781105784415
  • Publisher: Lulu.com
  • Publication date: 7/15/2012
  • Sold by: LULU PRESS
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 633,696
  • File size: 649 KB

Meet the Author

William Morris (1834-1896) was an English textile designer, artist, writer, and socialist associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the English Arts and Crafts Movement. He founded a design firm in partnership with the artist Edward Burne-Jones, and the poet and artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti which profoundly influenced the decoration of churches and houses into the early 20th century. He was also a major contributor to reviving traditional textile arts and methods of production, and one of the founders of the SPAB, now a statutory element in the preservation of historic buildings in the UK. Morris wrote and published poetry, fiction, and translations of ancient and medieval texts throughout his life. His best-known works include The Defence of Guenevere and Other Poems (1858), The Earthly Paradise (1868-1870), A Dream of John Ball (1888) and the utopian News from Nowhere (1890). He was an important figure in the emergence of socialism in Britain, founding the Socialist League in 1884, but breaking with that organization over goals and methods by the end of the decade. He devoted much of the rest of his life to the Kelmscott Press, which he founded in 1891. The 1896 Kelmscott edition of the Works of Geoffrey Chaucer is considered a masterpiece of book design.
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Read an Excerpt

News from Nowhere, or, An Epoch of Rest

Being Some Chapters from a Utopian Romance


By William Morris

Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 2004 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-14319-4



CHAPTER 1

DISCUSSION AND BED

Up at the League, says a friend, there had been one night a brisk conversational discussion, as to what would happen on the Morrow of the Revolution, finally shading off into a vigorous statement by various friends of their views on the future of the fully-developed new society.

Says our friend: Considering the subject, the discussion was good-tempered; for those present being used to public meetings and after-lecture debates, if they did not listen to each others' opinions (which could scarcely be expected of them), at all events did not always attempt to speak all together, as is the custom of people in ordinary polite society when conversing on a subject which interests them. For the rest, there were six persons present, and consequently six sections of the party were represented, four of which had strong but divergent Anarchist opinions. One of the sections, says our friend, a man whom he knows very well indeed, sat almost silent at the beginning of the discussion, but at last got drawn into it, and finished by roaring out very loud, and damning all the rest for fools; after which befell a period of noise, and then a lull, during which the aforesaid section, having said good-night very amicably, took his way home by himself to a western suburb, using the means of travelling which civilisation has forced upon us like a habit. As he sat in that vapour-bath of hurried and discontented humanity, a carriage of the underground railway, he, like others, stewed discontentedly, while in self-reproachful mood he turned over the many excellent and conclusive arguments which, though they lay at his fingers' ends, he had forgotten in the just past discussion. But this frame of mind he was so used to, that it didn't last him long, and after a brief discomfort, caused by disgust with himself for having lost his temper (which he was also well used to), he found himself musing on the subject-matter of discussion, but still discontentedly and unhappily. "If I could but see a day of it," he said to himself; "if I could but see it!"

As he formed the words, the train stopped at his station, five minutes' walk from his own house, which stood on the banks of the Thames, a little way above an ugly suspension bridge. He went out of the station, still discontented and unhappy, muttering "If I could but see it! if I could but see it!" but had not gone many steps towards the river before (says our friend who tells the story) all that discontent and trouble seemed to slip off him.

It was a beautiful night of early winter, the air just sharp enough to be refreshing after the hot room and the stinking railway carriage. The wind, which had lately turned a point or two north of west, had blown the sky clear of all cloud save a light fleck or two which went swiftly down the heavens. There was a young moon halfway up the sky, and as the home-farer caught sight of it, tangled in the branches of a tall old elm, he could scarce bring to his mind the shabby London suburb where he was, and he felt as if he were in a pleasant country place—pleasanter, indeed, than the deep country was as he had known it.

He came right down to the river-side, and lingered a little, looking over the low wall to note the moonlit river, near upon high water, go swirling and glittering up to Chiswick Eyot: as for the ugly bridge below, he did not notice it or think of it, except when for a moment (says our friend) it struck him that he missed the row of lights downstream. Then he turned to his house door and let himself in; and even as he shut the door to, disappeared all remembrance of that brilliant logic and foresight which had so illuminated the recent discussion; and of the discussion itself there remained no trace, save a vague hope, that was now become a pleasure, for days of peace and rest, and cleanness and smiling goodwill.

In this mood he tumbled into bed, and fell asleep after his wont, in two minutes' time; but (contrary to his wont) woke up again not long after in that curiously wideawake condition which sometimes surprises even good sleepers; a condition under which we feel all our wits preternaturally sharpened, while all the miserable muddles we have ever got into, all the disgraces and losses of our lives, will insist on thrusting themselves forward for the consideration of those sharpened wits.

In this state he lay (says our friend) till he had almost begun to enjoy it: till the tale of his stupidities amused him, and the entanglements before him, which he saw so clearly, began to shape themselves into an amusing story for him.

He heard one o'clock strike, then two and then three; after which he fell asleep again. Our friend says that from that sleep he awoke once more, and afterwards went through such surprising adventures that he thinks that they should be told to our comrades, and indeed the public in general, and therefore proposes to tell them now. But, says he, I think it would be better if I told them in the first person, as if it were myself who had gone through them; which, indeed, will be the easier and more natural to me, since I understand the feelings and desires of the comrade of whom I am telling better than any one else in the world does.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from News from Nowhere, or, An Epoch of Rest by William Morris. Copyright © 2004 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Introductory Note: How I Became a Socialist v
I. Discussion and Bed 1
II. A Morning Bath 3
III. The Guest House and Breakfast Therein 10
IV. A Market by the Way 19
V. Children on the Road 22
VI. A Little Shopping 28
VII. Trafalgar Square 35
VIII. An Old Friend 42
IX. Concerning Love 46
X. Questions and Answers 56
XI. Concerning Government 66
XII. Concerning the Arrangement of Life 71
XIII. Concerning Politics 76
XIV. How Matters are Managed 76
XV. On the Lack of Incentive to Labour in a Communist Society 81
XVI. Dinner in the Hall of the Bloomsbury Market 89
XVII. How the Change Came 92
XVIII. The Beginning of the New Life 117
XIX. The Drive Back to Hammersmith 122
XX. The Hammersmith Guest-House Again 126
XXI. Going up the River 128
XXII. Hampton Court. And a Praiser of Past Times 130
XXIII. An Early Morning by Runnymede 139
XXIV. Up the Thames: the Second Day 144
XXV. The Third Day on the Thames 152
XXVI. The Obstinate Refusers 156
XXVII. The Upper Waters 160
XXVIII. The Little River 170
XXIX. A Resting-Place on the Upper Thames 174
XXX. The Journey's End 178
XXXI. An Old House Amongst New Folk 183
XXXII. The Feast's Beginning--The End 188
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2013

    Fantastic book, highly recommend.

    Wonder what a better world looks like? Read this and dream

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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